R.J. Schwalbach & Brian Balistrieri
Champs Fight Through Weather, Challengers
To Become 1st Ever Back-to-Back Winners
Sheboygan Falls, WI - July 27, 2014 - On a day that began warm and breezy, the wrath of a mid-summer thunderstorm cut a swath through the 4th annual Bloody Horns Open, delaying play for nearly 2 hours. In the end, however, the patient and savvy defending champs, Brian Balistrieri and R.J. Schwalbach outlasted the weather and the field to defend their title, and punch their ticket back to CzabeVegas 2015.
How did the champs navigate winds that whipped to nearly 30 mph before rain and hail pelted the course?
"We tried to take advantage of the shorter holes and the par 5s like every other group and survive the brutal par 3s," Balistrieri said. "Somehow we played the par 3s in 2 under which really helped us. We also saw a ton of putts fall which helped keep our momentum as the leader board got more congested."
Tournament founder Steve Czaban said he's amazed any team broke par on a day like that, much less shoot 5-under. "The wind was cranking right from the start, and even when you got it downwind on some holes, it didn't always help. Picking the right club to get it close was a constant challenge. Then, the rains just put the course on lockdown distance-wise, so it played another 20% longer once we got back out."
The toughest hole was the 18th, said the champs. A stinging beast with an angular sliver of a green set into the hillside coming home. "Yeah, 18 was a bear, again," Balistrieri added. "But after playing it 2 times in the playoff last year I think we have it down. 16 always seems to give us fits. If we can get our first drive in play we can get aggressive. We failed to do that this year and ended up having to get up and down from 81 yards for par. Probably saved our day."
Final Scores: 1. Brian Balistrieri & R.J. Schwalbach (-5). 2. Michael Madson & Todd Westrich (-4). 3. Matt Bachmann & Chris Bachmann (-3). 4. Brian Zinda & Matt Georg (-3) 5. Dave Bachmann & Nic Vrubley (-2). 6. Mitch McGuire & Brett Tautges (-2). 7. Scott Schmidt & Alex Klemens (-1).